Remember the crazy resolution recently proposed in Alabama? We wrote about it a month ago — see: Alabama’s 2017 Creationist Resolution.
House Joint Resolution 78 would, if adopted, urge state and local education authorities to promote the academic freedom of science teachers in the state’s public schools. “Biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning” are specifically identified as controversial.
We quoted a newspaper article which said, with our bold font:
A state representative from north Alabama says his resolution on science instruction in public schools is an effort to encourage students and teachers to discuss intelligent design. “In the development of critical thinking, we need to make it welcoming at least for a student or teacher to bring up another theory,” Rep. Mack Butler, R-Rainbow City, said this week.
Because he bluntly announced his resolution’s purpose, we thought the Discoveroids would disown Butler and his resolution, as they did a year before when something similar occurred in Mississippi, and the sponsor of a Discoveroid-style bill babbled in the press about how his bill would allow creationism to be taught in the state’s schools. But we were wrong. The Discoveroids are so desperate for anything that will advance their agenda, they’re supporting Butler — despite his embarrassing public statements.
This appears today at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog: On Teaching Evolution Objectively, Alabama Is Right In Step with the Vast Majority of Americans. It has no author’s by-line. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
Recently the Alabama House of Representatives passed House Joint Resolution 78, an academic freedom resolution that would protect teachers who help “students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught.”
Your Curmudgeon doesn’t know the legal effect of a resolution, compared to a law. An article in Wikipedia says there can be binding or non-binding resolutions. The text of the Alabama resolution, after all of its “Whereas” clauses, says — with our bold font to emphasize Discoveroid language:
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA, BOTH HOUSES THEREOF CONCURRING, That we strongly urge [whatever that means]:
(a) The State Board of Education, public elementary and secondary school governing authorities, [etc.] should endeavor to create an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that encourages students to explore scientific questions, develop critical thinking skills, analyze the scientific strengths and weaknesses of scientific explanations, and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about scientific subjects required to be taught under the curriculum framework developed by the State Board of Education.
(b) The State Board of Education, public elementary or secondary school governing authorities, [etc.] should refrain from prohibiting any teacher in a public school system of this state from helping students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught within the curriculum framework developed by the State Board of Education.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That this resolution is intended to support the teaching of scientific information and shall not be construed to promote any religious or nonreligious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs or non-beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or non-religion.
Whatever its legal effect may be, much of that language is taken right out of the anti-science, anti-evolution, pro-creationism Academic Freedom Act promoted by the Discovery Institute. We’ve critiqued their model bill here: Curmudgeon’s Guide to “Academic Freedom” Laws.
Then the Discoveroids say:
Alabama’s House should be applauded for taking a proactive step that will benefit Alabama students, who will learn critical thinking, practice scientific inquiry, and delve into more scientific evidence. This resolution advances high-quality, active, and engaging science instruction.
Uh huh, sure. After that they tell us:
And Alabama is right in step with the rest of the country. A recent national poll revealed that “fully 93 percent of American adults agree that ‘teachers and students should have the academic freedom to objectively discuss both the scientific strengths and weaknesses of the theory of evolution.’”
The Discoveroids don’t identify that poll, which is a powerful clue. That figure of 93% is another clue. We strongly suspect that they’re referring to the phony poll we wrote about here: Discoveroid “Poll” Favors Teaching Nonsense.
The Discoveroids continue:
The resolution simply supports academic freedom for teachers who wish to discuss scientific evidence for and against evolution, and other scientific theories already in the state curriculum. Unfortunately, the media have distorted the legislation. So what else is new?
Yeah — the ” scientific evidence for and against evolution.” We’re written before about what the Discoveroids consider to be weaknesses of Darwin’s theory — see Discoveroids’ Top Ten Problems with Evolution.
Then they quote a few recent things Butler said about his resolution. His words strongly suggest that he’s been coached by the Discoveroids to conceal its actual purpose, which he already revealed in the newspaper story we quoted earlier. Sorry, Discoveroids. Nice try, but it’s probably too late to save the situation when it’s challenged in court.
Our last excerpt is from the end of the Discoveroids’ post:
The resolution supports protecting teachers and advancing education — something approved by the overwhelming majority of Americans. None of this is difficult to understand. Why is it so challenging for the media to simply report the basic facts?
The only “news” here is as follows: (1) the Discoveroids are willing to promote resolutions, instead of laws, as long as they faithfully include the language of their Academic Freedom Act; and (2) they’re so desperate to show some progress to their generous patrons that they’ll even back such a resolution where the lead sponsor has already declared that he wants intelligent design to be taught in his state’s schools.
Addendum: You can follow the progress of HJR78 at this link.
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